31 October 2003. Thought for the Week: "If power was decentralised, and if free men and women, understanding their own historical heritage, were to take that understanding wherever they went, there you would find the growth of a society in which freedom and security both flourished."
Eric D. Butler in "The Moral Implications of Centralised Power," 2003
THE VULNERABILITY OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT
by Jeremy Lee
Before Australia existed there were councils,
shires, parishes, mayors and aldermen in the British system.
Each elected person was known locally, and woe betide him
if he started lording it over others. In the lovely villages
that bedecked the hills and vales of England there were no
Town Clerks, CEOs, town planners, council engineers etc. Development
was by local consultation.
Many local ideas appeared in early Australia. Local Government Acts in our early history contained a lot of rights for ratepayers - which have disappeared without trace. In New South Wales a ratepayer who was short of cash could pay in work or kind. In other words, he could pay with an agreed quantity of wheat or vegetables; or he could demand of his shire some work to pay off his rates. The shire was obliged to accept his offer. Naturally, every effort was made to keep rates within the reach of all. The late Professor Gates of the University of Queensland, who specialized in Local Government, stated that a Council with more than 10,000 inhabitants quickly lost touch with ratepayers. And, of course, councilors, aldermen and even mayors gave their services free.
All that has gone. Councils have been amalgamated and increasingly subjected to State Planning Legislation - so much more 'efficient', you know! The Gold Coast Council is near enough the size of Tasmania in terms of numbers. The Brisbane City Council is the largest in the southern hemisphere.
No State has suffered as much as Victoria. Under that paragon of Premiers, Jeff Kennett, Local Government was literally torn apart, amalgamated, and made into administrative regions of the State Government. Elected councils were dismissed, or put under non-elected CEOs who trod roughshod over local desires, traditions and customs. Ironically, Kennett had campaigned passionately against such a move before he became Premier. He swore that no such move would take place without local referendums. One or two were held. But when they indicated a preference for things as they were, no more referendums were held.
REAPING THE WHIRLWIND
The latest news from Victoria (Michelle Rose, Herald and Weekly Times, 17/10/03) tells the sad story: "Lavish credit card spending by council bosses has left ratepayers with a million-dollar bill that includes boarding kennel fees, Grand Final tickets and fancy dress costumes. As ratepayers buckle under their highest-ever bills, a Herald-Sun investigation found 110 councillors swiped ratepayer-funded credit cards thousands of times in the past two years. Personalised number plates, limo hire, valet parking, staff awards, gifts, deluxe car washes, international phone calls, liquor and clothing are among items billed to council credit cards. A former Greater Dandenong Mayor even used his card to pay for a $7.05 McDonalds meal.
Credit cards are used in addition to reimbursed expenses - annual allowances up to $57,500 for suburban councilors and $110,000 for City of Melbourne councilors. Council executives collect annual salary packages of up to $250,000, plus bonuses. As allowances and salaries rise, so have rates - up an average 7 per cent across Victoria this year.
Documents obtained under Freedom of Information shows details of credit card spending at hotels, restaurants, car parks, shops, travel companies and online stores. Greater Dandenong was the biggest spender, running up $160,000 on 11 cards over the past two calendar years. Outer-eastern Casey spent the most per capita, splurging $157,000 on four cards - almost $40,000 each. Both councils' average rates just rose $41 to $599 in Greater Dandenong and $674 in Casey.
Documents also reveal
TWO councils - Bayside and Darebin - have no policies on credit card use and Stonnington allows its mayor to use the card for personal expenditure as long as it is reimbursed.
DIRECTORS and councilors were ordered to pay back almost $1,000 for personal items bought with ratepayer-funded credit cards.
COUNCIL leaders spent almost $150,000 on meals at some of Australia's top restaurants and $150,000 staying at ritzy hotels across the globe.
GIFTS to staff and visitors, including jewelry, shoes, electrical goods, fine china and flowers cost ratepayers $16,000.
MAROONDAH Council refused to release its card statements, claiming use of the ratepayer-funded cards was private.
SEVERAL officers breached policies, including two who used cards for cash advances.
The Herald-Sun found council policies on credit cards ranged from one paragraph to 20 pages and some did not include a list of banned items. Municipal Association of Victoria chief executive Rob Spence called on councils to develop strict rules for credit card use "There needs to be limits and controls on what they can spend on," Mr Spence said. He said most councils used credit cards wisely and use was monitored by the Auditor-General.
Dandenong Resident and Ratepayers' Association spokeswoman Christine Ware said spending by Greater Dandenong Council was staggering. "We accept there is going to be some level of expenses but the fact they exceeded Melbourne, who could have a far bigger need in that area, is unbelievable," she said. But Dandenong chief executive Warwick Heine said the council used credit cards instead of reimbursement to have more control over spending. "It has significantly reduced cash handling, which is one of our biggest exposures to the potential for fraud," he said.
Casey residents were "stunned" council director Jennie Lee used her credit card to pay almost $800 in boarding kennel fees while on eight business trips. "Everyone else who ever goes away needs to find someone to look after their pets," Cranbourne and District Residents Association spokeswoman Joanne Blanch said. The council said in a statement it paid kennel fees "to allow (Ms Lees) to attend activities for and on behalf of council where it is necessary that she be away".
A Moonee Valley council spokeswoman said former mayor Don Cornish paid $468 for Grand Final tickets in 2001 "when Moonee Valley's only team, Essendon, featured in the Grand Final". Moonee Valley, where average rates jumped $89 to $856, also paid $550 to hire costumes for a staff revue.
Melbourne Council paid fines of $500 for an overdue car registration and $40 for a CityLink "no tag in vehicle" fee. Banyule, in the northern suburbs, paid $496 for personalized number plates BCC 01 for its $40,000 half electric, half petrol pool car. Boroondara, Frankston, Glen Eira, Kingston, Monash, Moreland, Nillumbik and Whittlesea councils do not issue credit cards to executive management and councilors. (end of article)
Whew! And we thought that Peter Reith was the only Victorian to have trouble with credit cards! Does anyone care? Or do we just shrug our shoulders as though we expect nothing less? Perhaps irate Victorians will be the first to bring the stocks back!
ECCLESIA ANGLICANA LIBERA SIT
So reads the great Magna Carta of 1215 ("The Church in England shall be free ") Without in the least wishing to offend the many good Anglicans in our midst, that venerable institution does seem to have got itself into a spot of trouble! The English journal Right Now! (Oct-Nov. 2003) gives the following disturbing picture: "In the 50 years between 1930 and 1980 the Church of England lost half its members. This decline continued, albeit at a slightly slower rate, during the 1980s. It seems actually to have accelerated during the subsequent "great leap forward of the "Decade of Evangelism".
There is, however, one figure which has gone up. "There are now double the number of bishops and dignitaries than there were when the Church was more than twice its current size ." Which makes one wonder? If present trends continue, will the C of E diminish to one last final figure - a future Archbishop of Canterbury? And, if so, what happens to the vast investments made by the church over the centuries? It looks as though the last Archbishop will be a very lonely, but very rich, prelate.
by Betty Luks
Having read Mahathir's full speech, which in effect, was a plea to those leaders and nations predominately of the Muslim faith, for unity of purpose and goals, was along these lines:
We must stop fighting among ourselves,
we must see our religious faith as a unifying force.
Dr. Mahathir observed
"Today, if they want to raid our country, kill our people, destroy our villages and towns, there is nothing substantial that we can do. Is it Islam which has caused all these? Or is it that we have failed to do our duty according to our religion? Our only reaction is to become more and more angry. Angry people cannot think properly "
And now for the establishment's 'spin'
Ed Cropley, Reuters reported: "Mahathir, who steps down at the end of the month after 22 years in power, told the Bangkok Post, 21st October, 2003 in an interview that widespread criticism of his recent remark that "Jews rule the world by proxy" proved he was right News accounts had ignored his condemnation of all violence, including suicide bombings, and his call on Muslims to heed the teachings of the Koran and talk peace with Israel, he said. Asked why he thought this was the case, Mahathir replied: "Well, many newspapers are owned by Jews. They only see that angle and they have a powerful influence over the thinking of many people. Only their side of the picture is given now."
Out come the 'big guns'
The Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Centre
(notice the key word, the 'guilt-by-association' word,
the Nazi-hunting centre) said Mahathir's speech could
spur violence against Jews. (By the same token, Ariel Sharon's
remarks, about Muslim-Palestinian Yasser Arafat could also
'spur violence' against Palestinian-Muslims).
'Racist' remarks? It is quite okay to link the word 'Muslims' with all sorts of infamies - real or invented - but not to link the activities of the Jews with the Jews. That is racist. As for Australia's Prime Minister John Howard, what can one say about a fellow-Australian who has sold out his own country and his own people for a mess of pottage?
Most Australians believe in the sovereignty
of a nation, the real freedom of her people, the rule of law,
the great human freedoms: to worship, to think, to speak,
to choose, to be ambitious, to be independent, to be industrious,
to acquire skill and to seek and earn reward.*
As I read Mahathir's speech, I am impressed those are his aims for the Muslim world. Is that so bad? We were commanded "to do unto others as you would have them do unto you." What is good for us should hold good for others.
COMMONWEALTH BANK'S 'REPUBLIC MARKETING SYSTEM'
by Philip Benwell
"At the time of the Referendum we saw many people, including heads of corporations and banks - who should have known better, enthusiastically promoting a republic. Following the devastating defeat of their fundamentally flawed 'utopia' these misguided creatures were thereafter conspicuous only by their silence. However we are now outraged to learn that the Commonwealth Bank has named its new marketing initiative as the "Republic Customer Relationship Marketing System", or the 'Republic CRM'.
One wonders why a bank would use a name which is today synonymous with defeat. Unless, that is, they have an agenda we know nothing about. Whatever the reason, the more the word 'republic' is used, the more these people hope that the electorate will become conditioned to accept constitutional change.
The Chairman of the Commonwealth bank is Mr. John T Ralph AC and the Managing Director, Mr. David V Murray. The Bank website does not include an email address, only an on-line form. However they do have a toll free complaint hotline at: Phone - 1800 805 605 and Fax - 1800 028 542. The Bank may think that it is being clever. IT IS UP TO US TO PROVE THE OPPOSITE TO THEM.
Please therefore give consideration to phoning this toll-free number to register your outrage at the Bank's use of their shareholder's (and customer's) resources to promote a republic."
GREENS REPORT THEIR CANBERRA PROTEST 'WELL SUPPORTED'
"The Greens received overwhelming support for protest action at the Parliament House address by US President George W Bush," claimed Senator Bob Brown, 24/01/03.
Both Senators Brown and Kerry Nettle,
were ordered out of parliament yesterday after interrupting
Mr. Bush's speech. Some government MPs tried to physically
prevent the Greens senators from approaching Mr. Bush after
he addressed parliament. Their website claims "calls
to The Greens had been running 80-90 per cent in favour of
the protest. People say they're proud to be Australian, that
they feel we've made the parliament into a democratic place,
we had a right to stand up and make submissions for Australians
being treated differently and appallingly by President Bush
in Guantanamo Bay," he told Channel Nine. Bush
has already 'repatriated' Americans from Guantanamo Bay.
President Bush has repatriated the Americans out of that torture camp and ...the issue was raised by Prime Minister Howard as a result of the Greens' actions. President Bush has agreed now to fast-track the process of bringing these men to trial. "I feel very strongly about this," said Sen. Brown, "I'm an Australian. I do not want to see Australians being treated second class by anybody else, nor would President Bush allow that as far as Americans are concerned. It took the Greens to stand up for Australians on that issue."
AN OPEN LETTER TO: GEORGE W. BUSH - JOHN HOWARD - ALEXANDER DOWNER
The following Open Letter appeared in "The Courier", an Adelaide Hills newspaper with a circulation in the electorate of Alexander Downer, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
"It was wrong to invade Iraq. It was wrong to bomb Baghdad and Basra. Iraq was not a threat to any other country, and certainly not to Australia. Nearly 8,000 civilian Iraqis have been killed, and more than 20,000 wounded. Hospitals, power plants, and water pumping stations were destroyed, leading to widespread sickness and hardship. Thousands of Iraqi families have lost sons and fathers who resisted the invasion. Iraq is now in a state of chaos without any clear leadership.
Crime and terrorism are now widespread. American soldiers are being killed and wounded unnecessarily. Many Australians warned you of the stupidity of a war against Iraq, and of the political and physical chaos this would cause, but in your ignorance and naivety you mislead people about the reasons for the war, and went against the wishes of nearly every member of the United Nations. There is now no clear or quick solution to the damage you have caused. The bereaved will never forget the "Coalition of the Willing," or your "Shock and Awe" bombing.
You should pay compensation for the destruction caused. We can only hope that wiser leaders will prevail, and that such miscalculated and cruel acts of war will not again be done in our name."
This letter has been supported by the
SUPPLEMENTS AND ALTERNATIVE HEALTH PRODUCTS
by Don Auchterlonie
In the weeks that followed, the media was awash with negative stories about nutritional supplements, Pan and its CEO. And yet the TGA failed to document the substance that had triggered this recall. The TGA says its role is to "protect the health and safety of all Australians".
It is rather lenient regarding complaints lodged about pharmaceutical drugs. Without going into the many complaints lodged by people affected by these drugs we can note that 10,000 deaths occur annually in Australia due to medical procedures and drug associated events. In 1963 the UN and WHO formed the Codex Alimentarious Commission, made up of delegates representing large multi-national pharmaceutical companies and government regulating authorities including the TGA and FDA (USA). There are no representatives of small manufacturers and retailers at Codex meetings. Thus the business of Codex meetings is to put restrictions on the sale and use of vitamins, food supplements and herbs. (With acknowledgements to researcher, author and journalist Eve Hillary.)
Personal letters needed
A 'MUST' READ
"Health Betrayal" by Eve Hillary
Corporate farming is pressured on producers by deliberate government policies. Many factory-farm animals don't see a blade of grass during their lifetime. Beef cattle eat genetically-modified corn and other grains and animal tankage pellets. The pellets are made from road-kill, dead and diseased animals and the scrapings from slaughterhouse floors. (The rest of the gory details you can read in the book). The "Health Industry" now has endless opportunity to look for diseases it has caused in the first place. Most of these diseases would be cured by a healthy environment and nutritious food. This is kept very quiet by the corporate media.
A most revealing and important book,
worthy of careful study by every person even mildly interested
in staying healthy.
WANTED FOR ON TARGET WEBSITE ARCHIVESOur webmaster reports he is missing On Target Vol.6. No.46 27th November 1970 and Vol.10. No 47, 29th November 1974 from his files. Does any older League supporter have a copy of these missing issues? If so, please send a photocopy to: Webmaster, Australian League of Rights, P.O. Box 27, Happy Valley, South Australia 5159
SYDNEY CONSERVATIVE SPEAKERS' CLUBThe next meeting will be held Thursday, 30th October 2003. It will be an Open Night for the Audience to have their say. Venue is the Lithuanian Club, 10 East Terrace, Bankstown; approx. 600 metres from the Bankstown Railway Station. Your cost of attendance is $4 - bring a friend who is attending for the first time and there is no entrance fee. There are a variety of restaurants along the South Terrace for those who require an evening meal beforehand and the Lithuanian Club has ample parking facilities.
ADELAIDE CONSERVATIVE SPEAKERS' CLUB
The next CSC will be held on Monday,
3rd of November, and the venue is the Public Schools' Club,
207 East Terrace (Cnr. Carrington) Adelaide. The guest speaker
will be Dr. Alec Burton, M.Sc., Hons. (Lond.), D.C.,(U.K.).
Title of his address is: "Are You Sick and Tired of Being
Tired and Sick?" Dr. Burton runs the Arcadia Health Clinic
and the Australian College of Hygiene in Arcadia, NSW. He
has spoken at the CSC once before and was very well received.
'THE NEW DAY' DINNER & SEMINAR - ALBURYReports of how enjoyable was the 57th New Times Dinner & Seminar keep coming in from those who attended. The speakers presented their papers with wit and humour; Eve Hillary's account of how "They are Stealing Our Children" here in Australia left her audience aghast. Donald Martin posed (and answered) the question: "Is the European Union Faltering?" and Bill Daly also asked (and answered) the question: "Is a Revolt Against Globalism Happening?" Betty Luks opened the Seminar with a vision for "The New Day". You must hear, and be encouraged and inspired by, the full range of speakers. Order your audio tapes today through the Melbourne Book Shop. Phone 03 9650 9749 for details of prices, including postage.
TWO NEW BOOKS LAUNCHED AT LEAGUE SEMINAR
"The Moral Implications of Centralised
Power" by Eric D. Butler.
"Social Credit - Aspects" by Anthony
"On Target" is published by the Australian League of Rights, Box 1052. G.P.O. Melbourne 3001.